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Billings murder suspect serving federal prison sentence

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Chad Allen Reeves, one of the men charged with killing Brandon Billings in 2002, is already serving a 15-year sentence for drug conspiracy.

By Staff Reports

Chad Allen Reeves could have to wait until his federal sentence is served before standing trial for murder in the 2002 shooting death of Brandon Billings.
Reeves, 33, from Fries, is serving 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

He and another man have been indicted by a special investigative grand jury on murder charges for the killing of the Galax High School student, who was found shot to death in his wrecked truck near the New River in October 2002.
The other murder suspect, George Albert Harper III, 40, also is incarcerated, serving time in the state prison system.
Police have not revealed a possible motive for the killing, nor have they said how or if Billings knew Reeves and Harper.
Sheriff Richard Vaughan said both men were suspects from early on in the homicide investigation, but only recently did new evidence come to light and other suspects were eliminated.
Reeves has a criminal record that includes two prior state convictions from 2006, for drug possession in Carroll County and for assault and battery in Grayson County.
That same year, he also became the target of a drug taskforce and Drug Enforcement Agency investigation.
On Feb. 2, 2006, federal authorities arrested Reeves after intercepting a shipment of methamphetamine bound for Galax.
The bust occurred one day after state police stopped a pickup truck in Kansas for a traffic violation. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of 8.7 pounds of meth. The driver, Reinaldo Castro-Irebe of Arizona, told police that he was delivering the drugs to Reeves in Galax.
Officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Twin County Drug Task Force arranged to complete the delivery, and arrested Reeves when he showed up to claim the shipment in a motel parking lot in Wythe County.
At $10,000 street value per pound at the time, the amount of meth involved in the transaction was worth more than $80,000, DEA officials said.
A federal grand jury indicted Reeves and Castro-Irebe, and both men eventually pleaded guilty.
When a federal judge asked Reeves to explain how he got involved in the meth trade, Reeves said he was in a “bad situation” and he made “bad choices,” and got involved with the wrong group of people.
Reeves said he wasn’t making meth, but was buying it and selling it to someone else.
Castro-Irebe testified that he was a courier, and was only told what he was delivering. He said he never even saw the drugs, which were hidden in a spare tire. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison, after which he faced a deportation hearing.
Reeves is still serving his 15-year sentence in federal prison in Lexington, Ky.
In 2013, The Gazette received a letter from Reeves, who wanted to speak about his experiences in prison and his rehabilitation. He gave no indication that he wanted to talk about the Billings case, but stated that “I have quite an interesting story to tell.”
The newspaper has not been able to contact Reeves to talk about these issues.
George Albert Harper III, 40, of Galax, is serving time in state prison for drug charges.
It is not clear what connection he has to Reeves or Billings. Authorities have not released any details about how the suspects were connected to the victim or each other.
Harper has convictions in Carroll County for two counts of distributing an imitation controlled substance in 2012; petit larceny; failure to appear in court (felony); grand larceny; and distributing drugs.
In Grayson County, Harper has previous convictions of assault and battery in 2009; obstruction of justice in 2009; drug possession; possession and several probation violations.